Tuesday, September 27, 2022

From the Herb Garden to the Autumn Kitchen

Happy Fall Y'all

As the heat and humidity of a southern summer has loosened it's grip, we welcome cooler temperatures and sweet, fresh air making it's way into the house through open windows.
That cooler air seems to give me a burst of energy that was in shorter supply over the summer.

Last week I used one of those bursts of energy to empty out my herbs and spice drawer.  The drawer got wiped out and each jar was gone through to see what needed to be replaced or tossed out.  Once that was done I organized it in a more logical fashion.  It felt good to have that accomplished in time for all of the cooking and baking that will be taking place in the coming months.

For the first time, I decided to dry chives from my herb garden.
After washing and drying them, I snipped them up and set them in shallow bowls on the kitchen counter.  In a few days they were dry and ready to make a tasty addition to scrambled eggs, potatoes, soups or just about anything that could use a hint of mild onion flavoring.

I recently learned about drying herbs in a paper bag.
With this method I washed and dried the herbs and then put them into a paper bag leaving plenty of breathing room around them.
From there they went into a dark closet.  Every few days I would give the bag a couple shakes.  In a week or two they were dried beautifully.  No oven or dehydrator required.

I successfully dried oregano, parsley and lemon balm using that method.  The next thing I will be doing is mint.  Sometimes the mint seems like a nuisance as it is taking over and growing rampant.  But then something makes me remember how delicious it is.  In this case, it was the other evening after having a rather late and heavy meal for dinner.  I prepared a cup of mint tea and enjoyed it on the patio.  Darkness had set in, the autumn air so refreshing, solar lights adding color to the darkness and the nocturnal animals heard, but not seen.  We rarely sit outside in the dark.  This turned out to be an enjoyable after dinner ritual, particularly now that the patio is screened and the mosquitoes left Brett alone.  The tea was better than an after dinner mint and seemed to work wonders in helping to settle that heavy meal.

My dried herbs have also been making their way into new uses.
Something I learned about from this book:

Combinations of herbs and spices that can be mixed together and sprinkled onto our food to add beneficial health benefits.  

I have learned so much from this book.
It has made me want to appreciate and use the herbs I grow to the fullest.  I have also become familiar with herbs and spices that I had never heard of.  Her knowledge and presentation (like the thoughts above) really resonate with me.  A fairly simple way to work at keeping myself and my family healthy.


  1. From time to time, I have dried some herbs, chives, and mint. Not to my credit, I have never used any of it and ultimately had to toss it out. So you have impressed me with your after dinner tea and that it settled your tummy is an added blessing. Thank you for mentioning the book. I will check it out.

  2. You are inspiring me to dry my herbs from my herb garden for the winter! I am quite the spice and herb aficionado. I have easily over 100 bottles of different herbs and spices in my cabinet. That book looks fascinating. I'm going to have to look it up!

  3. PS - what program/web site did you use to make your header (the photos)? I want to change mine but when I went to my usual sites to do so, they are all ones you have to pay for now. I'm hoping you know of a free one!

    1. This is a header that I made several years ago. I am recycling it because making new ones causes too much grief :). Sorry I am of no help on this topic. Perhaps someone else will read this and be able to offer a suggestion for you.

  4. Thanks for that wonderful tip of drying herbs in a paper bag.
    I have my spices on a shelf in the pantry in alphabetical order.
    Funny that you are just opening your windows and we are closing them because it is cold now. Had them open all summer. :)

  5. I dry herbs for the winter, but haven't heard of the paper bag trick. It would make much less of a mess, and contain it all rather than have the herbs on baking trays on the dining room table. The book looks like it would have some good ideas, too. I love your description of sitting out in the dark sipping mint tea.

  6. You have an impressive number of different herbs and spices. I like your trick of drying oregano and lemon balm in paper bags. The cooler days now sure do make a difference in one's energy and enthusiasm for new projects.

  7. Herbs and spices make our meals so tasty and healthy! I'm keeping your family here in Florida in my prayers. Sweet hugs, Diane

    1. Thank you so much, Diane. We truly appreciate it and are keeping you in our prayers too.

  8. What a great idea - the paper bag herb drying. I will try that with my basil. I love to organize too. good job ♥

  9. You have inspired me! I have basil growing in a pot way too small for it and I have to do something with it. I think I will dry some of the leaves. Thank you for that tip.


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